An Ellicott City teen has been charged in connection with using Craigslist ads in a robbery scheme.
The 17-year-old, who has not been identified, was charged with three counts of theft, robbery, second-degree assault and operating a theft scheme. He is being detained at The Charles Hickey, Jr. School in Baltimore County, Howard County Police said.
In the first incident on June 23, a woman responding to a Craigslist ad met an unknown man in the 5300 block of Kerger Road to buy an iPhone 5, police said.
The woman pulled out money and the man produced an iPhone 5 box. As the victim discovered the iPhone box was empty, the man pushed her to the ground, grabbed her money and fled, according to police.
The woman gave chase and was able to grab the man's backpack as he ran off. Inside the backpack was a student identification card, police said.
In a June 15 incident, a man responding to a Craigslist ad for an iPhone 5 met to arrange a swap, police said. In that incident, police said a man was to trade an electronic gaming system for the iPhone 5.
The man trading the iPhone asked to test the gaming system to make sure it worked, resulting in the theft of the system, two controllers, a wireless headset and backpack, according to police.
The same phone number was used to arrange the June 15 and June 23 meetings, leading police to the suspect.
The teen was arrested in connection with robbery on those dates as well as an unreported theft on June 12 in which $200 was taken from a victim who was responding to a Craigslist ad, police said.
Howard County Police remind residents to use caution when responding to ads on Craigslist and recommend following these tips:
- Deal locally with buyers or sellers you can meet in person.
- Never wire funds via Western Union or any other wire service.
- Never give out personal or financial information.
- Pick a public place for your meeting and get there early. Park far enough away that the person will have less of a chance of seeing what car you drive.